Should I Do A Water Change? Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by FindingJadey, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. FindingJadeyNew MemberMember

    I did a 70% water change yesterday ... today I checked the water again and here is my results..

    PH : 7.2
    Ammonia : 0.25ppm
    Nitrite: 2.00ppm
    Nitrate: 10ppm

    I’m currently do a fish-in cycle... should I do another water change?

    I was doing 30% daily until someone told me I could be pro-longing the cycle... so I’m trying to keep it to every other day but my nitrite and nitrate seems a little high.

  2. SeasoldierWell Known MemberMember

    Hi, your nitrate is OK at 10ppm but your nitrite level is a bit high have you checked your tap water to see what it's like for nitrite & nitrates? If you did a 70% change yesterday the nitrites shouldn't be so high, what was it before you did the water change?

  3. FindingJadeyNew MemberMember

    Hey thanks for replying,

    I’ve checked the tap water and it’s fine. I was struggling with my ammonia readings last week and now they’ve went down my nirtrite has gone up.. I know that’s what’s supposed to happen during a cycle but at what stage does it become dangerous?
  4. SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

    yes, that is normal for in fish cycling. my nitrites were off the chart at around 6-8 ppm for almost 3 weeks.

    get a big bottle of Seachem Prime. it will temporarily make ammonia and nitrites non toxic for about 24 hours. Use max dosage every day. do 50% water changes everyday.
  5. Inactive UserWell Known MemberMember

    The toxicity of nitrite (like any substance) to fish varies among species as well as within species (e.g. juvenile vs adult).

    de Oliveira et al. (2008) conducted a study on the toxicity of ammonia and nitrite for adult cardinal tetra. Lethality only occurred when total ammonia was at 1.4 ppm (2% mortality), while a 0.25 ppm nitrite concentration resulted in 25% mortality.

    Most people recommend a maximum of 1 ppm ammonia and nitrite while cycling primarily because Seachem advertises Prime as being capable of temporarily detoxifying free ammonia and nitrite/nitrate for between 24-48 hours.

    I tend to be a little more cautious: it's fairly well established that Prime is capable of binding ammonia, but Seachem hasn't been very transparent on the mechanism of action for nitrite/nitrate detoxification beyond providing anecdotal reports from users.

    So I recommend a much less nitrite concentration: 0.25 ppm, based on the above mentioned study as a somewhat arbitrary benchmark.

    In effect, you are, as you're providing less of an energy source (ammonia or nitrite) in order to drive microbial metabolism and reproduction.

    But this needs to be balanced with the need to minimise the toxic effects of ammonia and nitrite on fish. Between the choice of (1) a slower cycle; or (2) dead or dying fish, most people would opt for (1).
  6. SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

    last time i read Seachem website, about 2 months ago, they stated they did not even know about the nitrite detoxification ability of Prime until lots of their users reported and that they do not know the exact reason why Prime is able to temporarily detox nitrites.

    my own experience as new fish keeper who did not know anything about the nitrogen cycle, my fish started dying about 3 weeks in, tested the water, my ammonia was 0, but nitrites were in the 6-8ppm range. after some research i bought a big bottle of Prime, and had no more fish die after using Prime(max dosing everyday), it took another 2 weeks to finish the cycle.
  7. Inactive UserWell Known MemberMember

    Because the evidence base for Prime's effects on nitrite/nitrate toxicity isn't very robust, I think aquarists are better served by other strategies for combating excess nitrite concentrations.

    The simplest and most accessible is to do water changes.

    The other treatment is to use salt, which has a much larger clinical evidence base than Prime. From my fish disease diagnosis and treatment manual (Noga, 2010):

    "Nitrite is much less toxic when chloride is present possibly since Cl- competitively inhibits nitrite uptake across the gills (Bowser et al. 1983)... Sodium chloride is the least expensive and most readily available form of chloride, but calcium chloride is equally effective (Tomasso et al. 1979). The low level of salt needed to treat nitrite toxicosis (usually <50 mg/l) is nontoxic to freshwater fish... Many natural waters have [a 20 mg/l] chloride level, often obviating the need for prophylactic chloride addition."​

    In context, 50 mg/l salt is approximately one teaspoon per 20 gallons.
  8. SeasoldierWell Known MemberMember

    Anything over zero for ammonia & nitrite is not good for any fish, some are hardier & more tolerant than others but long term it will degrade their immune systems & make them more susceptible to disease & therefore shorten their lifespan, I agree with @Skavatar above I'd get some Prime or similar to keep the ammonia / nitrite detoxified until the cycle finishes to protect your fish.
  9. SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

    here's the statement from Seachem
    "I wish we had some more "concrete" explanation, but the end result is the same, it does actually detoxify nitrite and nitrate. This was unexpected chemically and thus initially we were not even aware of this, however we received numerous reports from customers stating that when they overdosed with Prime they were able to reduce or eliminate the high death rates they experienced when their nitrite and nitrate levels were high. We have received enough reports to date to ensure that this is no fluke and is in fact a verifiable function of the product."

    i doubt my fish would have survived 3 weeks with 6-8ppm nitrites w/o Prime.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
  10. Inactive UserWell Known MemberMember

    I've read similar answers from their customer service representative on Seachem's forums.

    The fundmental issue for me is that I find it difficult to recommend a product, especially one that claims to have a clinically significantly effect on fish health, when the evidence base for that claim is just not very robust. I'm not saying that it doesn't work or that there's no evidence, but I don't think anecdotal reports from users is up to snuff, not when you're attempting to treat for a potentially lethal concentration of a substance when there are other clinically validated treatments available

    It would be like your doctor not prescribing you a medication that has been clinically tested and determined to be effective. Instead your doctor recommends another medication which has no clinical testing, but your doctor prescribes it on the basis that she/he had heard from another patient that it had worked for her/him.

    I think we'd expect a better standard from our doctors, and I don't think we should hold Seachem to any lesser standard of evidence, not when it's a question of fish health.
  11. GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

    I've cycled many tanks with fish in. I always try to keep combined ammonia and nitrites at 1 ppm or less. I've never had any trouble with fish getting sick or dying at those levels. I've had levels like yours before, and always did a 50% water change.

    While you're cycling I do not recommend doing water changes based on a schedule or an amount. Instead I think it only makes sense to do water changes based on what your readings are. If your readings are .25 ppm ammonia and 2 ppm nitrites, I'd do a 50% water change. Test the next day. If your combined ammonia and nitrites are still above 1 ppm, do another 50% water change. Test the next day, etc. Don't just do the water changes because it's on the schedule. That way you'll end up not doing enough and letting toxins build up, or doing too many and not letting the cycle progress.

    Once you're cycled, do water changes based on whatever level you want to keep nitrates at. Then you'll develop a pattern like 25% a week, or whatever. But while you're cycling try to control the water parameters.

    Also keep in mind that your nitrite levels vary based on how much nitrite is present before a water change, and how much nitrite is produced since the last water change. If your nitrite doesn't go down after a water change, it means you're producing as much as you're taking out. You can increase or decrease feeding to control the level of new nitrite.

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